GENEVA CONVENTIONS ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

PRELIMINARY

2. Grave breaches of Conventions to be offences.

3. Attorney-General to file indictment.

4. High Court to have jurisdiction to try offences.

5. Proof of application of Convention.

6. Status of Court Martial proceedings in relation to this Act.

PART II

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS IN RESPECT OF PROTECTED PERSONS

7. Service of notice of trial of protected persons on protecting power.

8. Legal representation for prisoners' of war.

9. Appeals by protected persons.

10. Reduction of sentence and custody of protected prisoners of war and internees.

PART III

ABUSE OF THE RED CROSS AND OTHER EMBLEMS

11. Prohibition on use of the emblem.

PART IV

GENERAL

12. Regulations.

13. Sinhala text to prevail in the case of inconsistency.

14. Interpretation.

SCHEDULES

4 of 2006.

AN ACT to give effect to the first, second, third and fourth Geneva conventions on armed conflict and humanitarian law; and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 26th February, 2006]

1. Short title.

(1) This Act may be cited as the Geneva Conventions Act, No 4 of 2006 and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may by Order published in the Gazette appoint (hereinafter referred to as the "appointed date”).

(2) Different dates may be appointed for the different Parts of the Act to come into operation.

PART I

Preliminary

2. Grave breaches of Conventions to be offences.

(1) Any person, whether a citizen of Sri Lanka or not, who within or outside Sri Lanka—

(a) commits or attempts to commit; or

(b) aids, abets, conspires or procures the commission by any other person of,

a grave breach in terms of the relevant Articles of the Conventions as are set out in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III and Schedule IV to this Act and are also enumerated in subsection (2) of this section, shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)—

(a) a grave breach of the First Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in Article 50 of that Convention committed against persons or property protected by that Convention;

(b) a grave breach of the Second Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in Article 51 of that Convention committed against person or property protected by that Convention;

(c) a grave breach of the Third Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in Article 130 of that Convention committed against persons or property protected by that Convention; and

(d) a grave breach of the Fourth Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in Article 147 of that Convention committed against persons or property protected by that Convention.

(3) For the purposes of this section "aids”, "abets”, "conspires” and "procures” shall have the same meaning as is assigned to them in the Penal Code.

(4) Any person convicted of an offence under this section shall—

(a) where the offence involves the willful killing of a person protected by any of the aforesaid Conventions, be punished with death; and

(b) for any other offence, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not exceed twenty years.

3. General to file indictment.

Subject to the provisions of section 6, every prosecution for an offence in terms of section 2 shall be by way of direct indictment filed by the Attorney-General.

4. High Court to have jurisdiction to try offences.

(1) Every offence under this Act shall be triable by the High Court established under Article 154P of the Constitution for the Western Province, holden in Colombo.

(2) Every offence under this Act shall be a cognizable offence and a non-bailable offence within the meaning and for the purposes of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979.

(3) A person referred to in Article 5 of the Third Convention may apply to the High Court for a declaration that he has the status of a protected prisoner or war.

(4) The High Court may, where it is satisfied that the presence of the public or any other person specified by Court, as the case may be, would be contrary to the interests of justice or would not be in the public interest, order the exclusion from any sitting of the Court, the public or any person specified by the Court.

5. Proof of application of Convention.

Where in the course of any proceedings under this Act in respect of a grave breach of any of the Conventions a question arises under section 2 of this Act relating to the circumstances in which that Convention applies in relation to the aforesaid breach, a Certificate under the hand of the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister in charge of the subject of Foreign Affairs stating that a Convention applies in relation to a particular situation, shall be admissible in evidence and shall be prima facie evidence of such fact.

6. Status of Court Martial proceedings in relation to this Act.

The provisions of the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act, relating to the trial by a Court Martial in terms of the provisions of the aforesaid Acts of persons who commit civil offences, shall, for the purposes of jurisdiction of courts martial convened in Sri Lanka under any of the aforesaid Acts, continue to apply in the same manner as provided for in the respective Acts, as if the provisions of this Act had not been enacted.

PART II

Legal Proceedings in Respect of Protected Persons

7. Service of notice of trial of protected persons on protecting power.

(1) The Court before which—

(a) a protected prisoner of war is brought up for trial for any offence under this Act; or

(b) a protected internee is brought up for trial for an offence under this Act, for which that Court has the power to sentence him for a term of imprisonment extending to two years or more,

shall not proceed with the trial until it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that a Notice stating the matters set out in subsection (2) in so far as they are known to the prosecutor, had been served three weeks previously on the protecting power, if any, and if the accused is a protected prisoner of war on the accused and the prisoners' representative.

(2) The following matters shall be included in the Notice referred to in subsection (1)-

(a) the full name, date of birth and description of the accused, including his profession or trade;

(b) where the accused is a protected prisoner of war, his rank and his army, regimental, personal and serial number;

(c) the accused place of detention, internment or residence;

(d) the offence with which the accused is charged; and

(e) the Court before which the trial is to take place and the date and the time fixed for the trial.

(3) For the purposes of this section a document purporting—

(a) to be signed on behalf of the protecting power or by the prisoners' representative or by the person accused as the case may be; and

(b) to be an acknowledgement of the receipt by that power, representative or person on a specified day, of a Notice described in the document as a Notice given in terms of the provisions of this section,

shall, unless the contrary is shown, be sufficient evidence that the Notice required by subsection (1) was served on that power, representative or person on that day.

(4) For the purposes of this section "prisoners' representative” in relation to a particular protected prisoner of war at a particular time means the person by whom the function of the prisoners' representative within the meaning of Article 79 of the Third Convention were exercisable in relation of that prisoner at the camp or place at which that prisoner of war was detained at, or last detained before that time, as a protected prisoner of war.

(5) A Court which adjourns a trial for the purposes of enabling the requirements of this section to be complied with, may, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other written law, remand the accused for the period of the adjournment.

8. Legal representation for prisoners' of war.

(1) The High Court before which—

(a) any person is brought for trial for an offence under section 2 of this Act; or

(b) a protected prisoner of war is brought up for trial for any offence,

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